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D&D 5E – Isle of Dread
Running Goodman Games “Original Adventures Reincarnated #2: The Isle of Dread”.
One of my all time favorite published adventures was “The Isle of Dread” which was originally published in 1981 for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D). I ran it for my players back then, and I found a fan conversion of it that I ran a couple of times in D&D 3.5.
In 2019 Goodman Games published “Original Adventures Reincarnated #2: The Isle of Dread”, a 328-page hardback which contains reprints of the original 1981 “blue cover” edition and the 1983 “orange cover” printing, as well as an interview with “Zeb” Cook (one of the original authors), and a 5th edition conversion of the adventure.
I am just finishing up with running this adventure for my current group. I thought I would provide you with some of of my notes and comments. Perhaps it could help if you plan on running this for your group.
First of all, this is big. You could easily take a group from third level through seventh level. They could become level 8 when they finish if they explored the entire island. They will also end up with a lot of treasure, which was common in AD&D.
Second, there is a temple that contains the primary “dungeon” on the island. The original adventure contains several corridors that were left unfinished, for the DM to design additional adventures if they chose to. The folks at Goodman Games have flushed out these unfinished areas. I highly recommend that you use these. I always thought that the final room in the dungeon was a little anti-climatic. This has been fixed. The only problem is that they kept the original conversion together and put the parts that they added in additional chapters at the end. When playing, this requires a lot of flipping back and forth through the book. I found the easiest thing to do was to use the maps (which are all keyed correctly) and refer to a Map Key listing all of the numbered areas on the map with a page number for where that area can be found in the book. There is no such key in the book so I created my own. I put that key along with a few other tips you might find useful into a PDF you can download HERE.
I hope this helps. Let me know your opinion of this adventure.
Something I forgot to include in my PDF:
It has always bothered me that in the original maps (Temple Level 1: map T-1 and Temple Level 2: map T-2) there is no way to go from level 1 to level 2 or back short of going through one of two pit traps. Even with the expanded maps provided by Goodman Games it will require a long and convoluted path which takes you first down through a vast underground cavern and then back up to Level 2.
To correct this I recommend adding a secret door on the west wall of the corridor just west of pit trap 7 on Temple Level 1 that opens to a spiral staircase that does down to a secret door that opens on the west wall of area 1 on Temple level 2.